Title: Make Trouble
Author: John Waters
Pages: 81 Pages
When John Waters delivered his gleefully subversive advice to the graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design, the speech went viral, in part because it was so brilliantly on point about making a living as a creative person. Now we can all enjoy his sly wisdom in a manifesto that reminds us, no matter what field we choose, to embrace chaos, be nosy, and outrage our critics.
Anyone embarking on a creative path, he tells us, would do well to realize that pragmatism and discipline are as important as talent and that rejection is nothing to fear. Waters advises young people to eavesdrop, listen to their enemies, and horrify us with new ideas. In other words, MAKE TROUBLE!
Illustrated with slightly demented line drawings by Eric Hanson, Make Trouble is a one-of-a-kind gift, the perfect playbook for gaming the system by making the system work for you.
Since I was a young child (and probably too young to understand half of what was going on in his movies) I have loved John Waters. He is one of my two favourite film directors and when, as a teenager, I had aspirations of acting I told myself I could die quite happily if I could play Velma in Chicago (this has changes to Elpheba in Wicked) and if I could be in a movie by John Waters. Sixteen years on from my naïve teenage years I have come to accept that I probably never will get to star in one of his films (my inner 16 year old is still holding out for Elpheba).
However, the opportunity came up to see John Waters give a talk in my home town of Liverpool as part of the Homotopia events. He had given talks there before but as far as I was aware they were for film students only. I bought my ticket with gusto and became more and more excited as the date drew nearer.
When Waters came on stage I became a puddle. This was a filmmaker I loved, whose films I had watched countless time. My tape of his movie Hairspray had to be selataped back together because I watched it that many times. I was in heaven.
After the show, I got to meet John Waters. I won’t lie, I nearly pooped my pants. This was a big deal. I had many of his books at home but hadn’t bought any with me so at the event I picked up one that I didn’t have. Make Trouble. This was his speech that he gave to a graduating class for the Rhode Island School of Design and man I wish it had been the speech given at my graduation.
It was perfect. Typically Waters in style and content and if possible made me love him more.
They say you should never meet your heroes because they will inevitably not live up to your expectations. John Waters did not let me down.
Make Trouble by John Waters is available now.